Monthly Archives: February 2023

Coaches Corner: Patrick Taaffe 

Meet PUC’s new men’s volleyball coach, Patrick Taaffe. This is Coach Taaffe’s (pronounced TAF) first time coaching at a collegiate level, with a background of coaching high school girls and guys volleyball along with club. When asked what made him decide to take this coaching position at PUC, Coach Taaffe replied, “Honestly, it was a God thing.” While at a basketball tournament for prep as an athletic director, he spoke with Coach Melissa and JR, and they both asked him to take the position.

Coach Taaffe graciously answered questions for us to get to know more about him. 

What makes PUC athletics different from other colleges and universities? 

For me, it’s the atmosphere of family. Even before I knew much about PUC, I had talked with many people both faculty and visitors, who all said how nice people were here. I have totally found this to be true- as everyone I meet is friendly and smiles. 

How would you describe your coaching style?

I am a passionate and motivating coach.

How do you support your student athletes on and off the court?

I do my best to meet the student-athletes where they are. I want to know about their lives and what is happening with their families or relationships and grades. These can all affect what is going on while they are on the court. While they are on the court, I try my best to adjust to their needs. If I know they’re having a really bad day, I try to be more supportive, vs. when they are having a good day, I might try to push them more.  

Outside of competing, are there activities you try to get your students involved with? 

Team building and communicating with each other. I fully believe that life is more than just sports. So I want them to make lasting friendships and be an example to these gentlemen of what God’s love looks like as best I can.

What values do you instill in your players?  

Love, honesty, integrity, and hard work. These values will serve them the rest of their lives in everything from the field of work they choose all the way to their family lives. 

How do you incorporate spiritual life within your team? 

Personally, I try to be a beacon of love and light for them. I am an open book, and bring Jesus to them and set the best example I can. As we begin to develop and create that family atmosphere, I want to start to have team vespers and join in worship together to make it personal for them. 

Why should prospective high school athletes choose PUC over another program? 

From what I have seen thus far, you get a great college education from faculty who care. You get the feeling of a large college education mixed with a small-town vibe, and it makes for a very dynamic environment. 

What is your favorite thing about being a part of the Pioneers family? 

Learning the different backgrounds of each person, where they come from, and where they want to go.

When you’re not coaching, what do you enjoy doing? 

Well, I love being with my family. My wife and I have four daughters, so they keep us pretty busy. I like to play video games or listen/read books during my personal “quiet” time. I also love playing music, whether it be writing something with my wife or just playing the drums on Sabbath. 

Get to Know Nicolette Piaubert: Assistant Professor of Nursing & Student Success Coordinator

Nursing assistant professor and student success coordinator Nicolette Piaubert, F.N.P., R.N. has worked at PUC for over a year. Last year she was one of the nursing professors who went on the Kenya mission trip, where she assisted in delivering babies at the clinic there. One of the babies was even named Nicolette, in honor of her. 

Professor Piaubert kindly answered some questions for us to get to know her. 

What brought you to PUC? How/Why did you decide to work here? 

I was recruited and my nursing professor became the chair of the school. 

What is the best thing about being a part of the Pioneers family? 

I love the peaceful environment, supportive staff, and great students.

Where is your favorite place to eat in the Valley and why?

Gott’s Roadside – delicious food. 

What is something you can do/want to do that might be surprising for people to learn? 

I love to do TikTok videos.

What is one song you’ve been listening to on repeat lately? 

Unstoppable by Koryn Hawthorn. 

Where is your dream vacation? 


Finish this sentence: On Sunday mornings you can find me…. 

Cleaning, food prepping, catching up on anything I did not complete the previous week, or getting ready for the coming week. 

Faces of PUC: Ugonna Nathan

Meet one of our seniors, Ugonna Nathan. She’s from Fresno and majors in Pre-Med, B.S. in Biochemistry, and A.S. in Health Sciences. Ugonna’s dream job is to be a doctor, and with her dream graduate school being Loma Linda University, she chose to attend PUC after her father told her about the connections PUC has with LLU. “I wanted to take full advantage of that opportunity, especially since PUC and Loma Linda’s missions align with my beliefs.”

What is your dream job? 

My dream job is to be a doctor.

How does that compare to what you wanted to be when you were young? 

When I was younger, I wanted to be a pediatrician. I liked helping my mom take care of my two little brothers. I only had an older sister when I was younger, so I was so excited to be a big sister. I think that’s where my passion to work with children came from and I was excited when I found out that’s exactly what a pediatrician does.

What is your favorite thing about being a part of the Pioneers family? 

My favorite thing about the Pioneers family is how welcoming everyone is. Coming to PUC as a transfer student during the pandemic was scary. I was nervous that I missed out on my chance to make friends. But at PUC, there were so many opportunities that allowed me to make new connections with such supportive friends and mentors that I am so grateful for.

Where is your favorite place in the world? 

My favorite place in the world is Nigeria. I love spending time with my family there. I’ve been there three times and I can’t wait to go again! Nothing beats African food straight from the motherland.

If you had to be trapped in a movie for a day, what movie would you choose?

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.

What is something you’re passionate about? 

Food. I love trying new foods.

Recommend a place to go in the Bay Area on a weekend 

I want to visit the San Francisco Aquarium.

Meet PUC’s New Lead Pastor, Nate Furness

Meet PUC’s new Lead Pastor, Nate Furness. Born in Seattle, WA. (“GO Seahawks”) and raised in Orange County, CA., Pastor Nate began his pastoral ministry at Westminster Good Samaritan SDA Church, then became the lead pastor at the Costa Mesa SDA Church. After that, he became the lead pastor at the Napa Community SDA Church, where he was the lead pastor. Having a passion for Adventist education made him decide to accept this position at PUC, and the college could not be more excited to see Pastor Nate lead the students and church. 

What did you want to be when you were younger? 

I wanted to be a pastor or a fireman. I am a pastor’s kid, and as I was growing up, I watched my father. I knew I wanted to be like him. In college, I didn’t choose a religion degree. I knew what it meant to be a pastor, and I wasn’t ready to fulfill that obligation. I graduated with an Education Degree in Health, Wellness, and Physical Education. 

When did you first feel the call to be a pastor?

Early on, but I didn’t think I was ready. I had some growing to do. After I married Jennie in 2005, I knew it was time to become a pastor. 

What made you decide to accept this position? 

I have a passion for Adventist Education. I want to be part of preparing young adults to serve Jesus in their context. We want to prepare nurses, psychologists, filmmakers, teachers, pastors, and others to share the love of Jesus with everyone they encounter.

What are your spiritual focus or goals for the campus? 

To prepare young people to be missionaries in their professional context, to disciple and mentor young people, and to demonstrate that life is joyful and that we are better in community. 

What methods do you use to stay connected with young people and be a mentor to them throughout their spiritual lives? 

I like to connect with them in the classroom, during intramurals, and invite students into our home. I plan to be present in the student center and available to chat. For those wishing to go deeper, I would schedule meetings where we can listen and encourage.  

What makes pastoring a campus church special to you?

Community. I love that there is a variety of people on campus. I look forward to working with Admin and the various departments to lean into our spiritual development. 

How can we, your PUC family, serve and support you and your family as you minister for us? 

I like homemade cookies and ice cream…lol. Encouragement. We all need to be encouraged, even the pastors.

What is your favorite thing about being part of the PUC family? 

The people. I love that we live in a community where we run into people we know all the time. I love the campus. I love that PUC has hundreds, if not thousands, of acres to explore on bike and foot.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work? 

Cycling, Snowboarding, wakeboarding, and being with my family.

Missing Class? Here’s What To Do 

Although you should never miss class, we understand emergencies can happen, or you can get sick. If you are ever to miss class in college, here’s what you need to do: 

Check Attendance & Late Work Policy 

If you plan on missing classes due to being sick, check your professor’s attendance and late work policies in their syllabi to know what to expect before talking with them. 

Check Course Calendar 

Another thing you need to check in your syllabi is your course calendar. See what your professor plans on teaching the day you miss and bring that up with them to see if there will be any changes. 

Talk or Email Your Professor In Advance 

Please inform your professors ahead of time that you will be missing class. Not only is this the responsible thing to do, but it allows you and your professor to work out a plan for missing class. If you’re not able to meet with your professor, address these things in your email: 

  • Apologize for missing class
  • Explain why you were not in attendance
  • Ask what you can do to make up for your absence 
  • Thank them for their time

Don’t wait till the end of the day to email them- do it ASAP.

Ask Your Classmates & Professor For Help 

Ask your classmates what you missed in class and see if they can share some of their notes with you. Bring up any questions or concerns to your professors because you don’t want to get behind in lectures or assignments. 

One of the great things about attending PUC is being in smaller classes. This makes it easier to meet with your professors, have them get to know you, and build relationships with them-unlike larger universities. Our professors care about you and your well-being, so don’t be afraid to talk to them when something comes up and you’ll have to miss class. They will do all they can to help you- just do your part and reach out to them. 

Faces of PUC: Akemi Ohara

Welcome one of our new Pioneers, Akemi Ohara! She is a freshman pre-nursing student from Folsom, California., and dreams of being an ER triage nurse. Akemi decided to join PUC because of the beautiful campus and the holistic approach to learning.  

What is your dream job?

My dream job is to become an ER triage nurse. I love the quick decision, adrenaline-rushing, out-of-the-box thinking required for this kind of environment. 

How does that compare to what you wanted to be when you were young?

From a very young age, I wanted to become a nurse, just like my mother, but I recently grew interested in the Emergency Room. 

Where is your favorite place in the world?

My favorite place in the world is anywhere with my family. My family is my support and comfort when I am feeling down. I also love the mountains 🙂

If you had to be trapped in a movie for a day, what movie would you choose?

I would choose Moana! I love the ocean, and I love adventure. She is so connected to nature and how cool would it be to talk to animals!

What is something you’re passionate about?

I am passionate about learning and growing. You learn something new every day!

Recommend a place to go in the Bay Area on a weekend.

Japan Town!! If you love Asian cuisine and Daiso, I highly recommend checking it out. There is so much to do and see.